Parley : Whisky and Whisky Cocktails

When you offer a hardcore whisky drinker a whisky cocktail, you have to be careful. Many are purists, and don’t like the idea of mixing whisky with anything. And those who are open to it are very critical of the final product.

But there are some cocktails that have endured the test of many of the critics and purists alike, and there’s a very good reason for it. Here are some of the classics that have.

Yuvi says – Take me for instance. You say whisky and i think of a glass of liquid gold. I have not been very open to trying whisky based cocktails, but that has changed with time, my good friend here is responsible for that. Right now, a Whisky Sour is something that makes me very interested as well.


But before you do…

Try some whisky on the rocks.

There’s a popular story that the term came from the time when people used real rocks to keep their drinks cold without diluting them.

While this story is debatable, the popularity of the term isn’t. It is the best way if you want to know one whiskey from another – the truest reflection of any whisky, and arguably the best way to have it.

Having a whisky on the rocks means having it poured over a few cubes of ice. Adding just a splash of water will help in bringing out the flavours of the drink.

Yuvi says– The Legend, as Trish says, may or may not be true – but some high end establishments still use chilled rocks today. One must understand the point of chilling whisky. It was made for the cold isles, moors and hills of Scotland and Ireland, not for the raging heat, smoggy skies and tropical rain of our subcontinent.

For that, we need to cool the whisky. You could use ice, cold water, or the combination of the two. I say that some very strong peaty whiskies may require it, but I am not a big fan of doing that. But, you will see that it goes great in certain combinations.

All in all, i say a few drops of water is all you require, to release the spirit.

Where can I find this?
Literally anywhere and everywhere!


  1. Old Fashioned.

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As the name suggests, it is one of the oldest cocktails created. But it is actually named because of the old style glass it is served in.

The origin of this cocktail goes back to the late 18th century. I like to think of an Old Fashioned as more of a ritual than a drink. It’s the perfect thing to have after a comfortable dinner – and incidentally, goes best with the records of Stevie Wonder.

For an idea of how it tastes, it consists of brown sugar (which works amazingly with whisky), an orange peel, and a few dashes of bitters.

Bitters are like the spice rack of the cocktail world.” – Ira Koplowitz.

They are bitter additives that give cocktails a really refreshing twist.

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Angostura is one of the most well known brands of Cocktail Bitters.

The ritual here lies in the fact that the stirring takes a while, and you always set some time aside in order to make this drink for yourself. And all of it is worth it.

Yuvi says Jim Beam, Four Roses and any good Strait Bourbon would do well for this. A rye whisky might also give a spicy tinge to the product, which does tingle the senses.

This drink was made famous by Don Draper, from Mad Men. Look out for it the next time – it’s almost impossible to miss once you know.

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Where can I find this?
Any good restaurant or bar should have an old fashioned on its menu, but they don’t often come cheap, because they take a while to make, and are hard to get right. You should be able to find it for about Rs. 500.


  1. Mint Julep
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These are usually served in copper glasses, which provide their own distinctive taste. Very refreshing!

Mint Juleps are made from sweeter styles of whisky, usually American.
Julep was a name given to a style of liquid tonics which added a sweet element to mask the bitter taste of the actual medicine.

The Mint Julep is to the Kentucky Derby what Champagne is to a New Year’s toast.

derby-experiences-about-the-kentucky-derby-mint-julep-kentucky-oaks-lily
Handed out like candy cones on Christmas.

It’s a very refreshing drink, consisting of bourbon whisky, sugar, a few mint sprigs, and a lot of crushed ice.

Tip- While using herbs like mint, a little gentle crushing really helps to bring out its character.

Yuvi Says– The Kentucky Derby. Picture the era of Southern Sovereignty, the white plantation owners “investing” their time into watching their money fly into horses going around a track.

The sweet southern heat, the rolling fields and cotton plantations- that inspired movies like Django Unchained.

To combat the Blistering sun and heat, a chilled Mint Julep is a perfect combination of freshness and comfort (using a southern comfort Peach flavoured whisky would be perfect for it).

Where can I find this?
Any resto-bar or pub should Mint Juleps on the menu for about Rs. 400.  Even if it’s not on the menu, you can still ask for one, and the bartender should be able to make one for you.


  1. Hot Toddy

One of the worst things in the world is sore throat and a blocked nose.

Since cold drinks are mostly out of the question, a Hot Toddy will come to your rescue. It’s the perfect warm hug before a good night’s sleep. Everyone has their own version of it – they rarely taste alike.

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This is how Hot Toddy should make you feel.

A dark rum or brandy toddy works great as well – I’m sure I’m not the only one who is reminded of the doctor’s brandy when we had the annual case of monsoon flu.

This miraculous cure of a cocktail consists of whisky mixed with honey, lime, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, and grated ginger – topped off with hot water.

Mix all of the ingredients, and let it brew for a minute or two.
You can strain it before drinking, but I like to keep the spices in as they give a nice aroma whenever you sip the drink.

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Yuvi Says – Personally I think I would have grown up much wiser had I been given a glass of Hot Toddy, as opposed to those arsenic like cough syrups. Maybe that’s why our elders keep talking about how great their childhoods were?

In any case, any young blended whisky should do well, the honey would accentuate the flavour, and since the spices used have their own character to give, using up premium scotch wouldn’t be very prudent.

Where can I find this?

This is a more uncommon drink, the more established bars and restaurants generally have it for about Rs. 450. But if you ask me, is best enjoyed in the comfort of your home with a warm blanket and a good book.


  1. Unnamed

This is a drink I sort of “invented” recently when one of my dad’s friends asked me to make a whiskey cocktail for him. It doesn’t have a history, but I hope you guys can help me name it.

I started off with a Blended Scotch Whisky, mixed with some orange juice, ginger and cardamom. I used maple syrup for sweetening – but you can use honey or regular sugar, depending on what you have.

The cherry on the cake was the top-up of ginger ale, which really brought the whole drink together.

Best enjoyed in a nice, tall glass.

Yuvi Says – “Unnamed?” more like “Bloody hell that sounds delicious…”

Now, where did i leave my muddler?

Where can I find this?
Well, this is a drink that any of you can make at home, because the ingredients are very easily available. I would strongly encourage trying it at home – tell me how it turns out!


There are many other classic, delicious ways to enjoy whiskey. We will have more of those coming up some time soon.

So go ahead, try these with your favourite whiskies and let me know how it goes.

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